Invention

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An invention is a new composition, device, or process. An invention may be derived from a pre-existing model or idea, or it could be independently conceived in which case it may be a radical breakthrough. In addition, there is cultural invention, which is an innovative set of useful social behaviors adopted by people and passed on to others.[1] Inventions often extend the boundaries of human knowledge or experience. An invention that is novel and not obvious to others skilled in the same field may be able to obtain the legal protection of a patent.

Contents

Process

Invention is a creative process. An open and curious mind enables one to see beyond what is known. Seeing a new possibility, a new connection or relationship can spark an invention. Inventive thinking frequently involves combining concepts or elements from different realms that would not normally be put together. Sometimes inventors skip over the boundaries between distinctly separate territories or fields. Ways of thinking, materials, processes or tools from one realm are used as no one else has imagined in a different realm.

Play can lead to invention. Childhood curiosity like playing in a sand box, experimentation and imagination can develop one's play instinct—an inner need according to Carl Jung. Inventors feel the need to play with things that interest them, and to explore, and this internal drive brings about novel creations.[2] Thomas Edison: "I never did a day's work in my life, it was all fun". Inventing can also be an obsession.

To invent is to see anew. Inventors often envision a new idea, seeing it in their mind's eye. New ideas can arise when the conscious mind turns away from the subject or problem; or when the focus is on something else; or even while relaxing or sleeping. A novel idea may come in a flash - a Eureka! moment. For example, after years of working to figure out the general theory of relativity, the solution came to Einstein suddenly in a dream "like a giant die making an indelible impress, a huge map of the universe outlined itself in one clear vision".[3] Inventions can also be accidental, such as in the case of polytetrafluoroethylene (Teflon).

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